Highlights From Frank Coonelly’s MLB.com Chat

Frank Coonelly held his monthly chat on MLB.com this afternoon.  You can read the transcript here.  Some of the highlights of the chat:

-Coonelly mentions that the Pirates are looking to add a bullpen piece or two.  He also said that adding Kevin Correia, and adding Scott Olsen to compete for the 5th starter role has bolstered the rotation for 2011.

-He mentioned Rudy Owens, Jeff Locke, Bryan Morris, Justin Wilson, and Alex Presley as players who could have a meaningful impact on the 2011 team, similar to what Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, and Neil Walker did in 2010.

-Jameson Taillon has a legitimate chance of starting his career with the West Virginia Power.

-The Pirates haven’t had any conversations with Seattle about bringing Jack Wilson back.  Coonelly mentioned that Wilson spent a lot of time in 2010 on the disabled list.

-Steve Pearce should be fully recovered from his knee injury in time for Spring Training.

-Charlie Morton, Brad Lincoln, Scott Olsen, and Brian Burres are competing for the fifth starter’s role.

-Coonelly mentioned that the one thing they didn’t want to do this off-season is block the 2010 Altoona starters, mentioning Rudy Owens, Jeff Locke, Bryan Morris, and Justin Wilson.  He mentioned that they have the opportunity to demonstrate that they belong in Pittsburgh in 2011.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Ian Rothermund

Personally I’m a big fan of the long-term potential that was added by these trades. I also think they’ll help in the short term as well, maybe not as much as one of the rental players they could have overpaid for, but I think it will be enough. Im just sick now of the, try and hope you win now at all costs mentality. No, the prospects aren’t proven and we don’t know where they’ll end up down the road. However, with the high upside guys, you have the potential for a bright future; may e it works out, maybe it doesn’t. Without them though, you know exactly where they’ll be 3-4 years from now. I’m also willing to bet that the same people clammering for a big time trade are the same people that would abandon this team as soon as the Pirates starting sucking again because they couldn’t afford to resign Choo, Pence, or Upton.


The thing is Lincoln hasn’t been used in the 7th inning role all that often. He’s been the 5th-7th, “keep it close” guy who comes in and pitches from behind in tight games. Or he’s been the old school multi inning closer with a big lead. If he were already the 7th or 8th inning guy, then I agree, I’d prefer them not make this deal now, but he hasn’t been. He’s basically been a low-leverage middle reliever with the exception of the showdown with Thome. Lincoln was great while miscast in his minor role and removing him from that role and replacing him with somebody like Qualls doesn’t really hurt as much as adding a young guy with 30+ HR potential who could ultimately be better than Pence this season and into the future helps even short run.


If you look a little closer at Sniders stats he doesn’t show nearly the strikeout issues that Pedro has with similar power capability. This is a significantly underated trade IMO and I believe will be viewed long term as Neal Huntington’s signature trade. I think that highly of Snider being added to this roster. The next viable position player coming from the minors is??? Nobody for a few years, that’s who – so unless you’re going to bring in an average free agent, you take advantage of a club like Toronto buying high on Lincoln.

Ian Rothermund



Kirk Lee

Also, very few teams make the playoffs with pretty good starting pitching, very bad offense, and an outstanding bullpen. That’s what the Pirates had a few days ago. Relying on your bullpen to carry your team is foolish. If you have a chance to upgrade a very bad offense by weakening a dominant bullpen, I think it helps you in the long run 2 out of 3 times.


Agreed. Teams need a balance. If you tip it too far into one category, it is a big risk. Take a look at our SP. Dominant in the first half, now starting to be a little less reliable. So we add a piece to it with Wandy. Our offense has slumped a bit, add Snider for hopefully extra offense and defense. Brought Marte up to help out the same way. Since bullpen has been strong, trade a piece of it and promote someone from AAA. It’s like keeping multiple dishes spinning on dial rods all around you.

Kirk Lee

As Huntington said, sometimes you need to add and subtract. The Pirates were buyers with Rodrgiuez and did a little future-compromising. This move might offset that a bit. Also, I disagree that this makes us worse this year. Why will Morris be ready next year, but not now? Maybe the FO thinks he’s good to go and that had something to do with this trade. In any event, while it won’t be easy to replace Lincoln’s absolute shutdown performance, it should nevertheless be easy for the Pirates to replace him with a GOOD 7th inning reliever, which is enough. Meanwhile, Snyder has the potential to be a huge upgrade on McGehee/Presley/Sutton/Whoever he replaces in the lineup. It’s not a guarantee, but if he keeps putting up Carlos Pena/Pedro Alvarez style numbers then we just got a big time power hitter for RF, with albeit, a low OBP. That kind of guy adds WAY more value, right now even, than a dominant one-inning pitcher. What the Pirates did doesn’t necessarily hurt their chances right now, it merely rolls the dice on them. Snider could easily give us a huge push in the playoff race, or he could not and we lost a good reliever for the year. We pretty much knew what we were getting with Lincoln. Now, we don’t have that security, but we have the chance for a whole lot more.


I think there is a lot of talk about playoffs and I understand why. But I just don’t think we have a team built for a strong playoff run. I am extremely happy it looks like we will break the streak of losing seasons and anything after that is gravy. But I would rather sell high on Hanrahan and get one or two really strong prospects (AAA or MLB-ready) to carry us farther into the future. This is just the beginning of something good. I have heard the argument that “rebuilding is over”. That is almost true. Our farm system has some high-ceiling guys but it wouldn’t hurt to maybe pick up another bat (SS, 1B) and maybe a SP. Doing this would allow us to contend farther into the future in my estimation.


I agree. Even though I like the trade I would rather have moved Hanrahan for two good, young, close to MLB ready players and kept Lincoln.

Kirk Lee

Pretty good point. I disagree that we should ignore this year’s playoff race, especially with the current standings and the ease of our remaining schedule, but I do agree that we shouldn’t ignore opportunities to strengthen our future chances… Especially by dealing Hanrahan, who I would rather have seen be dealt in this trade. Overall though, I think this trade accomplished something like what you are suggesting: building a little more for the future.


Let me clarify, I don’t think we should ignore this years playoff chase but I think a tempered enthusiasm is the right demeanor to have. I am not going to be heartbroken if we miss the playoffs. I will be heartbroken if we don’t finish with a winning record.

William Wallace

“Charlie Morton, Brad Lincoln, Scott Olsen, and Brian Burres are competing for the fifth starter’s role.”

Isn’t Kevin Correia on that list? Id rather have him starting than Olsen.


“Coonelly mentioned that the one thing they didn’t want to do this off-season is block the 2010 Altoona starters, mentioning Rudy Owens, Jeff Locke, Bryan Morris, and Justin Wilson. He mentioned that they have the opportunity to demonstrate that they belong in Pittsburgh in 2011.”

I can’t say I like that comment. I understand that one or more of them should be ready for the majors this year, but saying hearing the “we don’t want to block anyone” comment after last year’s debacle makes me want to vomit.

Sorry, they might be good and above average someday, but saying that we have to operate under the restriction of not blocking someone, hasn’t worked out so well under this FO.

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